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First Responder Thermal Imaging Cameras: Development of Performance Metrics and Test Methods

Published

Author(s)

Francine K. Amon, Anthony P. Hamins

Abstract

Thermal imaging cameras are rapidly becoming integral equipment for first responders for use in structure fires and other emergencies. Currently there are no standardized performance metrics or test methods available to the users and manufacturers of these instruments. The Building and Fire Research Laboratory (BFRL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is developing performance evaluation techniques that combine aspects of conventional metrics such as the contrast transfer function (CTF) and noise equivalent temperature difference (NETD) with test methods that accommodate the special conditions in which first responders use these instruments. First responders typically use thermal imagers when they cannot see with their eyes due to the presence of smoke, dust, fog, and/or the lack of visible light, and in many cases the ambient temperature is uncomfortably hot. Testing has shown that the spatial resolution of the imagers, as measured using a modified CTF, suffers when a target is viewed through obscuring media. The thermal resolution of the imagers, as measured using a modified NETD, likewise suffers when the ambient temperature of the camera itself is elevated. A performance metric that combines thermal resolution with target temperature and sensitivity mode is also being investigated. Results of this work will support the establishment of standardized performance metrics and test methods for thermal imaging cameras that are meaningful to the first responders that use them.
Proceedings Title
Proceedings| |The International Society for Optical Engineering, Defense and Security Symposium| |2006
Volume
6207-28
Conference Dates
April 17-21, 2005
Conference Title
SPIE Defense and Security Symposium

Keywords

CTF, first responder, infrared camera, NETD, test methods

Citation

Amon, F. and Hamins, A. (2006), First Responder Thermal Imaging Cameras: Development of Performance Metrics and Test Methods, Proceedings| |The International Society for Optical Engineering, Defense and Security Symposium| |2006 (Accessed April 12, 2024)
Created April 3, 2006, Updated February 19, 2017